Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Ironically, even though it is more recommendable to longtime Fire Emblem players due to the fact it lacks the long introductory arch of The Blazing Blade, the steps The Sacred Stones takes towards accessibility may cause some frustration in those veterans. After all, its abundance of enemies and goods removes the stifling resource restrictions of its predecessors, making its adventure – therefore – much closer to the easier contemporary entries of the franchise than to the mighty challenges that were rather frequent in the past. That caveat aside, The Sacred Stones is yet another very good entry in the saga, and it is likely to universally please. Because, in the end, its greatness does not originate solely from the fact it adds the practicality of a world map to a well-known gameplay framework that has repeatedly proven it works well. The Sacred Stones is great, ultimately, because it joins exciting strategic battles with an engaging plot that moves through sweetness, sadness, and darkness. And when that formula is achieved, the Fire Emblem franchise is at its finest state.

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Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade

In the end, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade was undoubtedly a very good choice for being the franchise’s first entry to be released outside of its home country. And even after the further establishment of the saga all around the world with a sequence of equally strong titles that certainly built on it, revisiting this Game Boy Advance chapter is still more than worth it for aficionados and casual fans alike. Surely, some of its traits will reveal a roughness that was neatly smoothed out as the saga developed; but, at the same time, a portion of these old-school values actually make The Blazing Blade be one interesting transitory bridge between the brutal past of Fire Emblem and the more accessible future that would lead it to universal success. And in that sense, it is a kind of adventure that cannot be tackled in many other places.

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses

The main problems Fire Emblem: Three Houses carries are certainly those that come forward due to its expanded focus on the franchise’s extremely valuable social component, a move that, on one hand, greatly increases its size and the impact of its plot, but that, on the other, turns a big slice of its gameplay hours into a chore. Regardless of that partial misstep, the title is nothing short of a major achievement in content and storytelling goodness; in those two areas, whether through three branches that display vastly different perspectives on the same general tale or via borderline infinite options of character growth, Three Houses offers more than anyone could have possibly expected, and it does so with the confidence of a property that knows – more than any other – how to mix heart and strategy into a stunningly uniform fabric.

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia

Given Fire Emblem was created to match the strategy elements of Famicon Wars with the stats-focused and story-heavy nature of role-playing games, it is not surprising all games of the saga have lived and died based on how well they were able to balance those pieces. Shadows of Valentia, therefore, does not escape such judgment; and while, truth be told, the game does not excel in any of them, there are redeeming and intriguing portions in all of those areas.

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Fire Emblem Fates

All in all, Fire Emblem Fates succeeds in picking up where Awakening left off and building on the extremely solid grounds established by it. The game puts together an impressive and complex universe and uses it as the setting for three distinct stories of equally engaging strategy sequences and deeply emotional events. Not only do Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation all go down in history as some of the finest Fire Emblem games ever released, but they also appeal to a wide array of audiences with their simple yet effective production values, flexible difficulty settings, exciting mechanics, and absolutely remarkable characters. Like a lengthy and epic series of books, when the Fates trilogy comes to a close following at least seventy hours of gameplay, players will not be relieved to finally have reached full closure; they will actually feel a tug at their hearts for having to leave such a fantastic world. And that alone should be a testament loud enough to prove the greatness that is found inside Fire Emblem Fates.

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Roads Not Taken

Fire Emblem Fates winds up being a rare case of a game whose most contested feature before its release ends up being its greatest prowess: the diverging paths and versions offer fulfilling experiences that appeal to distinct groups of fans, while also leaving the door open for new fans to enjoy Conquest by lowering its difficulty and for veterans to tackle a more brutal take on Birthright. Even though the writing occasionally falters in some places, especially regarding dialogues supporting character development, it is a worthy sequel to the glory that was Fire Emblem: Awakening.

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Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

Although not as easy-to-recommend as a masterpiece of the caliber of Fire Emblem, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is certainly better than average. Not all of its experiments click, and some of its flaws have the potential to completely alienate a considerable audience, but to those who are fans of the genre and are willing to try something drastically different and that packs quite a punch when it comes to challenge, giving it a try might prove to be the unearthing of an unsung little pleasure.

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E3 2015: Thoughts And Words Part I

Nintendo’s showing at E3 2015 was notable not because of the games that were shown, but due to the strong negative reactions from fans the presentation triggered. The company approached this year’s virtual conference with a theme of transformation; taking notable franchises out of their comfort zones and into new grounds. While some of the shape-shifting yielded results whose outlooks are promising, others fell poorly flat. Like pretty much everything in our mundane world, the overall output was neither as dark nor as brilliant as it is being currently painted, it landed somewhere in between on a intriguingly gray area. It is time to tell the good from the bad.

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E3 2015 Predictions: You Know It’s Coming Edition

Once more, June has arrived. Alongside it, come the hopes and expectations the gaming universe tightly couples to the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo, where a generation that has been sadly scarce of spectacular games will attempt to bounce back. With Nintendo’s yearly E3 Direct set to happen on June 16th, it is time to look into that crystal ball to see what lies up ahead. First, let’s glance towards the games that are sure to make an appearance either within the presentation itself or on the show’s floor.

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Steampunk Freedom

From a superficial outlook, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. easily comes off as redundant; a product that will naturally tackle the same terrain plowed by Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. However, a more profound analysis proves otherwise; the title is in fact a much needed addition to Intelligent Systems’ library, for it gives the company something neither Advance Wars nor Fire Emblem can offer: sheer freedom in game design.

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