when Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Fire Emblem shake hands

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Welcome, true believers, to La Tapa del Obseso, the Raúl Sánchez section.

The story of Fire Emblem is a bit the story of a syndios. Of a wonderful one. A saga that, careful, begins in 1990 for the first Nintendo, starting almost the genre of what is usually called tactical role videogame. That is, a mix between role-playing games with their level ups, inventories, progressively tougher enemies and strategy games with their graph maps, long-term planning and turn-based fighting. All with a fantastic European medieval atmosphere. They were games, from the first, much more complex than the average and with a player base not exactly large but enormously faithful. It must be said that the first who left Japan did so in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance, with relative success.

It is possible that the top of the saga, after making several remakes along the way, are the ones in Game Cube and Wii: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn (2005 and 2007), both being the beginning and the end of a closed story. They were difficult games, in which it was easy to stay in some missions stuck for not having planned the use of the characters properly and having them at levels that made it impossible to progress. Well, in addition to finding enemies impossible to defeat, some enemies that did not forgive a tactical oversight and no way to rectify. They were games that did not allow farming, that in each new mission they put you in new tactical situations and that were a whole allegation against racism, misunderstanding between people of different cultures and warmongering. Not to mention the many charismatic characters in design and personality they had.

Even with those they were not exactly bestsellers, even if in places like Spain we were translated and in Radiant Dawn even dubbed in its cinematic scenes. A third remake of the first game of the saga for Nintendo DS was made in 2008 (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon) that had so few sales outside of Japan that they decided not to bring the next part for DS. At this point a critical situation was reached: journalists, the press and those who played it might be delighted with the design of the battles, characters, history or the profound mechanics of the fighting. Can. But the general public did not seem to respond. It was carried out what was believed to be the last Fire Emblem due to low sales, and the creators of the saga, Intelligent Systems, decided to put there all the ideas they had about the saga and that perhaps they had not dared to put before. This is how Fire Emblem: Awakening was born in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS.

This game would save the saga. It would sell almost 2 million copies, a real barbarity considering the genre that it is. I would do it by greatly reducing the hardness of the game, making the permanent deaths of the characters optional, putting in lower difficulty modes and making the game's own mechanics allow us to farm, raise character levels to spare, and almost always remain in As for character statistics. That is to say, that he became more friendly and accessible to everyone, in addition to maintaining acceptably high story values ​​and characters, although perhaps a bit prototypical of what the saga is. The game received fantastic notes, a huge promotion and the well-known good sales. The next episode was not so friendly, since with the next installment, Fire Emblem: Fates, three different versions were going to be released in three different video games, with the classic collector's edition in which the three versions would be. This division of the game into three parts was received with much anger by almost everyone, in addition to being playably a strange and argumentatively weirder thing (for worse).

A) Yes, they did in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (2017) for Nintendo 3DS a kind of follow many playable parts of the successful Awakening (possibility of farming, map to choose mission, etc.), certain characteristics of the second game of the saga and some new things, such as the third-person exploration of some areas and the search for items in some places as if we were on a graphic adventure. Although they loaded one of the hallmarks of the series: the triangle of weapons (in short, that the weapons of the game follow a logic of rock-paper-scissors, in which one weapon is always effective against another and a danger against other). The game again had good reviews and reasonable good sales. We discussed this game more extensively in this sacrosanct blog.

And, in the end, Fire Emblem returns to desktop consoles in 2018 after its last installment on Wii in 2007. Nintendo Switch has already had one of the best Zelda ever, as we have already commented here, revolutionizing the playable bases of the same for the first Once from Ocarina of Time. The first information about this Fire Emblem: Three Houses said that it would be the delivery that would do the same for the Fire Emblem than Breath of the Wild for the Zelda. That there would be revolutionary changes. That looked better than ever. Not only that: in the game we should choose between three houses, each with a different route in terms of history, plus one more route that could only be accessed after meeting certain requirements. That is, he played the opposite of the Fire Emblem: Fates, in which the story broke into three video games.

After finishing two of the four stories I think I can say it: it is a Fire Emblem at the height of the best in the saga. Those who said it was the Breath of the Wild for the Fire Emblem did not exaggerate. First, by radically changing the normal flow of advancing history. The Fire Emblem prior to Awakening was a linear succession of battles with conversations or kinematics in between, Awakening introduced the general map where we moved the protagonist leaving us to peck levels if we were in a hurry and spend some time in the main story and Three Houses is a strange mix from both. Namely: after a prologue in which he briefly introduces us to the typical fantastic medieval world of European style but an aesthetic anime our character makes him a teacher in an academy of officers and magicians. A suspiciously similar to Hogwarts, with its flying owls, their houses fighting in common competitions, their dances, their mysterious, old and dark intrigues, their intriguing professors … even one of them, Seteth, keeps a suspicious resemblance to Harry's Severus Snape Potter There we will teach. We will decide on what aspects each student in our class will focus on: sword, horse riding, offensive magic, healing magic, wearing heavy armor, leadership … besides being able to give individual tutorials for these characteristics, which will be more effective the more motivated you are. These characteristics when climbing make the character learn new skills on the battlefield, as well as perform better. We must also keep in mind that the characters can change classes to another class of the same or higher, being able to improve statistics and gain skills in doing so. How do you get in class? Well, taking exams, of course. Each character can only do one a week, and will approve if he has the right skills at the right level. All of this is more intuitive to see in the game than to explain it and in no way becomes complicated to understand. Then we will move beautifully in any menu and understand what each statistic or class is about.

Each week begins with the planning of our classes and tutorials, and throughout it students can come to ask questions. If you give an appropriate response, your motivation will increase. You can ask us to study other things. Or they can simply talk to us about their lives, increasing our friendship with them. Increasing friendship with any character implies, in addition to knowing them, that fighting side by side with them on the battlefield is much more effective. This motivation and friendship increases by sharing a table at lunchtime, inviting them to drink tea, singing together in the choir or picking up items they have lost. Not only will this work with students in our class: also with those in other classes and with other teachers. These can become our class (and be able to be selected to go to battles) if we get along well enough with them. With that we can alleviate the weaknesses of our class of students on the battlefield: the three classes are very different in how you should fight for their own characteristics. Thus, we have a mechanics of "signings" and make fantastic social life and, of course, that comes from the saga Persona.

Each month there will be a battle one of the last days that is what makes the story progress. We can choose each week to explore the monastery-school (to interact with students, teachers or do activities), give specific seminars, rest (everyone's motivation goes up) or go to battle in secondary missions that they send us (useful to climb of levels and get special weapons). Is shameless farming possible? In the normal way yes, since we can repeat battles until we want, taking away a lot of grace and challenge to the matter. In the difficult mode there are no battles that we can repeat to infinity, having to measure all our resources a lot. In the battles it must be said that they have looked great, reaching the levels of the Fire Emblem of Game Cube and Wii. They introduce a lot of tactical variability: maps with lava, maps with fog, maps with many corridors, interior maps with teleportation portals, beach maps where many characters go at a snail's pace, castle defenses, third character defenses … but not only news from the beginning: in the midst of battles or in the end it is not uncommon for new enemies to appear or to change victory conditions or you will get wonderfully challenging surprises. Tactically it is a playable delight, even if they have removed the weapons triangle again. They have introduced new mechanics, such as the fights with gigantic monsters that have several life bars or the use of small mini-armies that each associated character has.

The game is not the difficult Fire Emblem but not the easy ones, even if it continues to give the option that there is no permanent death of characters or the normal way in the middle of the game let's see that we fall short in terms of difficulty If we have already gone through the saga. I know that the new people who get into the game are getting the typical feeling of “how I've been doing all my life without knowing this“, Especially for the two hundred different mechanics to do things, their playable depth or their characters. And having three classes of students and many teachers could lead to disaster if things were not done well, but that is not the case. Teachers cannot be more charismatic. The three classes are playably different and in the tone of the story. That is to say: the class of the Empire (the Black Eagles) is the one that has more people with powerful magic and more shortage of people who hit me close, making it perhaps the most difficult to play, but it is arguably the darkest, atypical, ambiguous morally, in addition to having the game Daenerys, Edelgard. It is the only house with two different plot lines. Then we have the Golden Deer, the most relaxed, humorous tone class, with its leader, Claude, as the handsome leader, thief, picaron and empathic with the most disadvantaged. They come from a place where there is no king, eye. It is the class of commoners, country people and celebrations with laughter. Here archers abound although they have one of the best tanks in the game (Raphael) and two women who can be exterminated armies as we ride them in dragons: Hilda and Leonie (both humorously portrayed). Finally we have the Blue Lions, with Dimitri as their leader. It is the most conventional class in the game, recalling its leader, classmates and history to the most classic Fire Emblem. It's easy to remember characters from other games watching their conversations and development. These are the best melee and may be the easiest campaign.

But this is the first part of the game. That of the Howgarts anime academy for young officers from the three countries of the world. The one of the dances, the competitions, the mock war, the feasts, the romances and the laughter. The game ends in its first part leaving Harry Potter and begins the second part five years later being Game of Thrones argumentally. That is, noble houses betraying, characters debating between their family, their country and their friends, dark and terrible secrets that were always there … and above all nostalgia. Nostalgia for a better time in which we were all in school, nostalgia that is painful when older students face each other to death for their political ideals, for their hatreds, their grudges or for how circumstances push them politically. The player has lived with them, has seen how they evolved and sees how adults already betray, kill and cry before we kill them. Fire Emblem got us to feel attached to our characters, but now it makes us feel bad when we face boys and girls we have seen grow, dream, fight and laugh. The final enemies are no longer just ones that we have always had on the horizon doing evil. We have known them since youth. We know the desires of many of them. And when we kill them we will hear their last and terrible words. It is a game that, like few others, makes you feel bad about doing what you have to do.

We could blame the game that, being incredibly bold, brave and addictive, has loose parts. It is not fun to find lost items and go searching almost by trial and error to whom it belongs to win their favor. The mechanics of gaining affection from the characters by giving them gifts are already old and unsatisfactory: it would have been better to gain more affection by responding correctly in conversations with them. Battles should be limited even in normal mode, it is too much advantage for the player. But still we can say that it is a reinvention of the classic formula that suits you, almost all changes are much better playable, the content of the three classes is really different and is very replayable. It is a modern classic of the genre of tactical role-playing games and of course an essential of this generation of video games.

Be happy.


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