For the next two days, I’ll be on a mother/daughter, internet-free trip. Since I won’t have much of the week left by the time I get back, I’ve decided to talk about my first dive into the action-strategy genre and most recent game I’ve been playing: “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” I’d been meaning to play it since I picked it up a year or two ago, but it wasn’t until I saw footage from “Fire Emblem Fates” during this year’s E3 that I decided to tackle it. This is not a formal review since I’m only about halfway through it, but just my general thoughts on the game and its genre.
Now, aside from some research here and there, I decided to go into the game with the mindset of not micro-managing every character and thing available to me. While I’ve reclassed a couple characters, I’m playing on both the Normal and Casual modes to get myself accustomed to the genre. Action-strategy never interested me in the past, but the colorful characters and snappy gameplay I experienced when I first tried demo convinced me to buy the game and give it a try. While I can’t say it’s convinced me to keep up with the series (the main story has been a bit dull), I do feel like I’m more open to playing games from the genre. I’ve even been watching a Let’s Play of “Pokemon Conquest” and getting sucked into watching the gameplay and various strategies involved in that.
My biggest issue is that I have the tendency to forget the “strategy” part and end up just running into the heat of battle. If I were playing this game on Classic mode (aka permanent death), I’d have a few members killed off for really dumb reasons. Sometimes it was due to me underestimating their durability, but more often than not it was me forgetting their weaknesses to certain enemies (Virion the archer is a good example of that, since he normally can’t attack anyone at close range). However, there’s a simple joy to pulling off a planned strategy, and it’s more rewarding than not to level up each character. Too often I’ve found that grinding in games can be really tedious, but the modes I’m in are pretty forgiving in all respects. It’s made testing the waters of this genre more bearable and enjoyable for me.
I think coming into “FE: Awakening” as a newbie has been beneficial because I don’t have to be obsessed with grabbing every skill or going through every job class. I easily COULD do this, but it takes up time and effort when I can instead focus on just playing the game and enjoying it at face value. Since I’m hard-pressed to sell off any games I beat, keeping this one around will ensure that I can easily replay it on a harder difficulty or more in-depth if I want to in the future. As it stands, I’m glad I chose it as an introduction to the genre. While I know many games have different takes on the genre, I like the core concepts behind them in much of the same way that I like simple-to-understand but fun RPGs (like “Paper Mario” for example). And even though I’m not sure if I’ll pick up either version of “Fire Emblem Fates,” I’ll at least be keeping my eye out on games that fall into the action-strategy niche from here on out.