I’m still a fan of Fire Emblem, but in an effort to get more fans aboard following the surprise success of Fire Emblem: Awakening, Nintendo has decided that the series needs to be stripped of a few more teeth.
For one thing, the next entry, Fire Emblem If, will be scrapping weapon limits, allowing for weapons that will never break. It might not be a sentiment shared by many, but I always felt that this was one of the strengths of Fire Emblem. In the older games, every action, every move, every single decision had major consequences and rewards. Save your powerful sword for a boss, or waste it slicing through his army? Kill this enemy with a stronger character, or kill him with a weaker character who needs the EXP boost?
The open-ended nature of the newer games means that any consequence can be negated by simply grinding, killing the perfect learning curve that the older games nailed time and time again.
Still, if Fire Emblem If is an open-world Fire Emblem game, I can see why this decision was made. Grinding means you’ll have quite a stockpile of useless steel and iron arms come the journey’s end. Nobody wants that.
The other additions I can understand because they are totally optional. “Casual Mode” will make the game easier, but it is “Phoenix Mode” which is a little baffling. This new mode will revive your characters the turn after their death, completely removing any resemblance of a death penalty. This is from a series where perma-death was the standard not two entries ago.
I suppose it was unavoidable. Franchises can’t survive if they are catered to a niche anymore. Fire Emblem If will certainly carry on the series’ other strong points like great storytelling, interesting relationships, and lighting fast battles. However, I’m going to miss feeling one step away from the edge of a cliff.
Fire Emblem If will be released in Japan on June 25 for the Nintendo 3DS. North American will be getting it in 2016.