So recently I finished “Fire Emblem Echoes – Shadows of Valentia” for the 3DS. It’s a remake of “Fire Emblem Gaiden”, and as such. It had to be fairly faithful to the original. However, after the disaster of a localization that was Fates, people may have been understandably… Concerned about how Nintendo of America handled this one. Truthfully, other than turning blood into sperm (you can’t unsee it now!) by making it white, the game doesn’t seem to suffer from localization, which is a good thing.
I admit, at least a couple of the characters feel like they took liberties with the lines, but it does fit their personalities… Somewhat, I guess. One of the characters in question is a bit of a spoiled brat, and the other one is more of a typical girl teenager… In a fantasy world that’s set pretty far back in the timeline. Okay, that’s enough ranting about the localization. The rest of the game seems to be good and untouched.
The story begins in Ram Village where we meet two children, Alm and Celica. Shortly after, knights of the Northern Empire, the land of the Dragon God Duma, show up and reveal that they are after Celica. Thankfully the man who is watching over the two children (as well as the others in the village) is a former knight himself and drives off the troublesome knights. Celica is then sent to a small island where she spends the next few years growing up. Meanwhile, Alm is taught swordsmanship by the old knight, whom he sees as his grandfather.
Knights of the kingdom that Alm and Celica live in show up at Ram Village looking for the old man. The old man turns them down, and Alm takes his place. Several of the village children (whom are the same age as Alm) join him and together they march to free their kingdom of brigands, terrors and the invading army. Meanwhile, Celica has visions of Mila, the Earth Dragon Goddess, is in trouble. With the help of some of her friends from the island, the three set out to find out what happened.
The game is structured so that you have to complete Alm’s part first, then Celica’s, then, after you can control both armies, you need to finish Celica’s path first before doing Alm’s to finish the current chapter. There are six chapters total. Just a little tidbit, before you cross to the country in the North, you may want to have Celica and Alm both at level 20. Both can move to an advance class later in the game after a story event, so it’s best to have them as high a level as possible.
Now, if you’ve played “Fire Emblem Awakening”, you may be a bit disappointed to find out that relationship trees are very limited in this game and improving to new classes is extremely limited compared to Awakening. There is, however, one thing that Echoes has that, as far as I know, no other Fire Emblem game has…
You see, weapons that don’t break on you. Yes, that’s right, weapons don’t break down on you. Furthermore, You unlock various skills by equipping various weapons or shields to your characters, and they can only use those skills with the appropriate weapon. Magic works a bit differently too. In past “Fire Emblem” games, or future, technically, as this is a remake of an older one, you needed tomes and staffs to cast various magic and using higher-level magic required you to have a higher level of skill with a tome or a staff to use it.
In Echoes, magic is cast from HP, same with various skills. On top of that, all magic users can, from tier two and up, use both White and Black magic. If they’re a mage, the only healing spell they learn is Recovery while if they’re a cleric, they can learn to heal from a distance, summon an army of disposable troops, mass heal and even teleport. Of course, offensively, clerics are limited to two offensive spells, though both are very powerful and mages have more variety and range.
Funny enough, the Cleric-class can be one of your toughest fighters, due to the fact that they have a spell that heals them when it damages the enemy. The main game isn’t too long. In the matter of fact, I did a massive amount of grinding and finished it in just over 32 hours. So if you don’t want to grind too much you can probably finish it in around 20-25 hours for the main game.
Gaining experience isn’t too difficult, as every map gives your whole party bonus experience just for being there, even if they didn’t fight at all. Very useful for making sure that support characters don’t fall too far behind your main attackers. The music was pretty good, though nothing truly stands out until you get to the climatic battles. The battles are full 3D, and the characters move around a lot when fighting.
As for the story plot-twists, well, you’ll figure them out pretty quickly. I was able to guess every twist and turn in the game’s plot without seeing a guide before-hand. It does get dark at times. So I’ll leave it at that. Oh, and screw you, Jedah and Duma, having an ability that can cancel attacks. So, is it a fun game? Yes, it is.
So, would I recommend buying “Shadows of Valentia”? Well, not at full price at least. I’d wait until it drops some more. See if you can get it for around 20 USD. Oh, one last thing, I need to talk about the game breaking element that is Mila’s Turnwheel. If you make a mistake in battle or one of your characters dies, you can use this, a limited amount of times, to undo the actions that lead to your character dying in battle and getting a do-over.
And, yes, I used it quite a bit to protect some of my weaker characters. Death is just a slap on the wrist indeed. Doubly so since there’s three chances to revive any character, other than Alm and Celica, should they fall in battle if you ran out of the Turnwheel’s abilities for that battle. Yeah, so it’s not TOO terribly difficult, compared to other “Fire Emblem” games at least.
In other words, it’s still fun and very much worthy of a playthrough. If you don’t want to wait, you could always just rent from Gamefly. The graphics are nice, being on a 3DS platform. So you can’t expect them to be anywhere near the level of what the Vita or any other platform out there can produce. One last thing, if you’re wondering why I didn’t mention anything about Amiibos, it’s because my 2DS can’t use Amiibos without a special adaptor, which I didn’t know until now.
You see, I didn’t play “Smash Bros” on the 3DS, so I didn’t know they made an adaptor for Amiibos for older model 3DS and 2DS systems. Anyways, if you’re a fan of the previous “Fire Emblem” games, then I’m quite sure that you will enjoy “Shadows of Valentia” as well (despite the said cons of the game).
+ Solid Strategy RPG series continues to be solid
+ No need to constantly replenish your weapon supply
+ Healers are among the best units in the game
– Very easy due to being able to undo errors with ease.
– Only a few classes have access to tier three, the rest are DLC
– Tier 4 is DLC only
– DLC being more expensive than the game itself
Sound and Music: 3.5/5
Replay Value: 3/5
“Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia” is a solid strategy RPG from people who know what they’re doing. It’s a nice story, not too difficult and with the ability to undo mistakes, it might be a good spot to start for people just getting into the Strategy RPG genre.
Title: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Resolution: 800 x 240/320 x 240
Release date: 2017-05-19
Spent time: +15 hours
Average grade internationally: 83,34% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: 39,99 USD via the Nintendo shop
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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